Dominant Latics now virtually safe from relegation – Wigan Athletic 3 Stoke City 0

Kal Naismith Wigan Athletic Kal Naismith grabbed a brace – photo courtesy of Wigan Athletic

Wigan Athletic produced one of their best performances of the season to defeat relegation rivals Stoke City 3-0 at the DW Stadium.

Two goals by substitute Kal Naismith and an opening strike by Everton loanee Kieran Dowell ensured that Latics continued their incredible run of form. They have now moved up to 14th place in the Championship table and are virtually safe from relegation.

Stoke were totally outplayed and look in serious relegation trouble after a lacklustre display. They are just one point above the relegation zone with both Huddersfield and Hull having a game in hand.

Paul Cook made two changes to the side that defeated Blackburn Rovers on Saturday with  Michael Jacobs replacing Anthony Pilkington and Leon Balogun replacing Danny Fox.

Latics continued were they had left off against Blackburn and quickly took control of the game.

In the fourth minute Kieffer Moore had an opportunity to open the scoring but he was denied by goalkeeper Jack Butland who smothered his shot at close proximity.

Two minutes later Jamal Lowe fired into the side-netting from a tight angle as the hosts showed their determination to claim the three points.

Soon afterwards Nathan Byrne’s low cross was almost turned in by Moore but the striker couldn’t make a good contact and the chance went begging.

Latics were dominant in most areas but the visitors looked threatening from set-pieces and David Marshall was called upon to make a good save to deny a Sam Vokes header in the 14th minute.

Latics continued to create chances and Butland had to tip Joe Williams’ free kick over the crossbar which had been destined for the top corner.

Captain Samy Morsy then powered forward before unleashing a blistering drive but unfortunately for Latics it was straight at Butland.

Latics lost Jacobs to a thigh injury on 32 minutes and he was replaced by utility man Naismith.

Former Latic James McClean blazed over the angle of post and crossbar on 33 minutes but it was a rare foray by the visitors.

Latics continued their dominance and they took a deserved lead just before the break.  After some neat build up play, Dowell cleverly curled the ball from the right by-line and under Butland and into the net for his first goal for the club.

Substitute Naismith nearly got in on the act moments later when he picked up the ball 35-yards from goal and volleyed left footed for the bottom corner but the Stoke keeper pulled off a miraculous save to deny him.

Dowell then blazed high over the crossbar from a good position as the hosts ended the half in complete control.

In the second half Latics picked up where they had left off in the first and turned their dominance into more goals.

On 54 minutes Jamal Lowe missed an absolute sitter when he failed to capitalise after Naismith had superbly set him up.

But on 65 minutes Latics doubled their lead following some great work by Lowe. The striker’s cross was fumbled onto the under side of the bar by Butland and Naismith finished from close range.

Three minutes later the former Rangers midfielder Naismith produced one of the goals of the season when he connected with Byrne’s cut back on the edge of the area and the ball flew into the net past the helpless Butland.

Latics should have added more to their goal tally but it had been a thoroughly dominant performance which continues their amazing form.

They have surged up the table since the turn of the year, they are nine games unbeaten and have not conceded a goal in their past seven matches – a remarkable achievement in the Championship.

Latics will face probably their toughest game of the season at promotion chasing Brentford on Saturday, but on this current form I certainly wouldn’t bet against Latics getting a good result.

Championship Table courtesy of Whoscored.com

About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Championship, Kal Naismith, Kieran Dowell, Stoke City, Wigan Athletic and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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